CONAN Is Finally Here!

After appearing three years running in the 10 Most Anticipated RPGs of the Year list, it seems that Conan's streak has come to and end - because Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of has been released! You can get it right now from Modiphius' web store, and will be able to get it elsewhere from tomorrow. PDF only, for the moment. You can also grab a book of six adventures, Jewelled Thrones of the Earth. Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed of is based on Modiphius' own 2d20 system (which also powers their upcoming Star Trek Adventures game). The book is now available for review in the reviews area.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Water Bob

Adventurer
Question - why do you think this system is a problem? Player abuse? GM abuse?

Main reason (there are other reasons): It's a bad fit for the Hyborian Age. I've stated it above.

This is a Ying for Yang System. The mechanic was designed to implement the effect of Dark Symmetry in the MC game, and it does that brilliantly.

But, there is no Dark Symmetry in Conan's universe. There's nothing like it.

If Conan is heroic in one instance (pays DOOM to get extra dice), that has no correlation with a bigger badder foe or bigger obstacle later (when the GM uses DOOM against Conan). The relationship exists in the game that the 2d20 was designed for--in MC. IT does not exist in the game it has been shoehorned into, Conan (or Star Trek, for that matter).




Same point, in other words: If the players don't ever generate DOOM (which I think is impossible, given the way the game and adventures are designed), then the obstacles ahead are set at one level (the DOOM that the GM is given at the start of the scenario).

If the players generate DOOM, then the GM will use those extra points to increase the difficulty lying ahead of the players when he spends those extra points.

This relationship of character-gets-bonus-now-and-the-party-pays-for-that-bonus-later is not a concept that should be central to a Conan game--especially a game that claims to be based solely on Howards' writings. The concept is alien to the atmosphere Howard created for the Hyborian Age.

It might be OK for, say, Moorcocks Eternal Champion universe, where the influence of Law and Chaos reign. But, it's not appropriate for Conan's world.
 

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Water Bob

Adventurer
I genuinely feel sorry for Mophidius - I've seen threads where they get roundly attacked for their use of the mechanic and the system works really well.

They are trying hard to put out a quality game. They are doing everything "right", in my opinion, except that they made one really bad decision that is killing them.

They decided to go with the 2d20 mechanic instead of something more traditional.

Sure, there are tons of people who like the mechanic and the game. I bet the game is selling well.

But, my gut tells me (given all the people out there, like me, who dislike the mechanic--and there are several, from what I've seen) that they're not maximizing their niche. You'll never make everyone happy, but I feel as if they are getting 75% of their potential market rather than 90% because of the choice they made going with 2d20.

Had they gone with something--a new system, or an old established system--that was more traditional in nature, I'd be happy as clam at the bottom of the ocean and yelling at the top of my lungs, "Modiphius is awesome!"

Instead, I am disappointed, along with a sizable portion (but not a majority) of their market.

2d20 is a huge mistake.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Sorry there is no such thing as "illogical" taste preferences.

Yes there are - ones which are counter to exhibited preferences of the individual stating them.

Examples:
  • Someone who hates the mechanics of Robotech while liking the mechanics of Rifts (THey're the same rules, mostly word for word).
  • someone who hates the rules of Twilight 2000 2.2 but loves the rules of Dark Conspiracy (again, same rules)
  • Someone who hates Fate System for its fate points rules, but loves Cortex Plus for its Plot Point Rules (which are substantially the same)

Illogical taste preferences aren't per se wrong, but they still are illogical.
 

Skywalker

Adventurer
Post away! I'll read it.

What-cha-got?

I'll pass. It's seems obvious that no one here is genuinely interested in going past the discussion of the Doom Pool despite what they say, favouring instead repeating their irreconcilable positions. I'll go enjoy the weekend instead :)
 

aramis erak

Legend
I'll pass. It's seems obvious that no one here is genuinely interested in going past the discussion of the Doom Pool despite what they say, favouring instead repeating their irreconcilable positions. I'll go enjoy the weekend instead :)

I've been running Star Trek Adventures - the metagame discussions in play of the threat pool are right on par with the Force Point/Character Point spend discussions my players have had in WEG SW 2E, and much less animated &/or intense than the discussions of Destiny spends in FFG SW.

The Doom/Threat pool is firmly integrated into the mechanics, and extracting it makes the engine somewhat Meh. There's good reason it's a major discussion point about the game: It's a major discussion point OOC in play...

That said, STA is rather cinematic, and due to the high similarity, I'd expect Conan to be similar. Noting the differences (4 wounds vs 1 wound before being out of action), Conan should also give rise to somewhat longer combats (my longest since getting rules correct in STA was 5 rounds, and that due to misses that mathematically were exceptional: 10 straight on Diff 2 at a min TN of 11...)...

The 2d20 rules, aside from Momentum/(Doom/threat), are pretty straightforward.
 

Water Bob

Adventurer
(Referring to the Mongoose Conan RPG) Just the HP and level mechanic flies in the face of Conan - even with what Mongoose did with it (and they did a great job considering the system and the level of pastiche they introduced) they couldn't have an experienced Conan (one only has to look at the statblocks they published for him) felled by a poisoned ring, a single sphere of flashfire etc. without constantly rolling '1's.

The ring you refer to, I assume, is the one used by Tsotha-lanit in The Scarlet Citadel. According to the story, the secreted needle in the ring was coated with the juice of the purple lotus.

According to the Mongoose game rules, the juice of the purple lotus is "by far the most paralytic poison known, capable of felliing even the mighty Conan." (Page 277, 2E Core rulebook.) It's a DC 28 Fort Save to avoid the effect, and damage is 1d6 points of DEX plus immediate paralysis. This save must be made 1d6 times, once per round (6 seconds).

According to The Road of Kings, King Conan is a 20th level character (the highest level allowed in the game), with a +20 Fort Save. So, this awesome character, fails on a roll of 1-7, which is a 35% chance of failure each try--and 1d6 Saves must be made in order to avoid the effects of the poison.

With an average of 2-3 saves, and a 35% chance of failure per roll, chances are that even mighty Conan will go down, paralyzed, when the juice of the purple lotus is used against him.

So...I'd say that your statement/opinion above is incorrect, and that the Mongoose guys did a pretty damn good job of modeling the effect of purple lotus in the game as it was presented in the story.





Which instance of flashfire are you referring to? Let me know, and I'll look it up to see how it Mongoose directs us to use it in the game.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Yes there are - ones which are counter to exhibited preferences of the individual stating them.

Examples:
  • Someone who hates the mechanics of Robotech while liking the mechanics of Rifts (THey're the same rules, mostly word for word).
  • someone who hates the rules of Twilight 2000 2.2 but loves the rules of Dark Conspiracy (again, same rules)
  • Someone who hates Fate System for its fate points rules, but loves Cortex Plus for its Plot Point Rules (which are substantially the same)

Illogical taste preferences aren't per se wrong, but they still are illogical.
Sorry, now you've lost me.

Are you seriously so determined to Be Right™ that you go completely off track to invent examples that nobody has talked about in the thread?

If so: I am wrong. You are right.

Now then: how about if I argue that by labelling "I dislike meta rules" "illogical" you're only inadvertantly revealing things about yourself?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Related to how the mechanic might or might not be a better fit for Mutant Chronicles than Conan:

My fundamental beef is that I am convinced a game benefits from being uniquely sculpted to support the world and campaign of its designated rpg.

In other words: I don't like generic systems. I don't like the concept of a "2d20 system" that is used for several different games, campaigns, genres, and tropes. I never cared for GURPS the system (some of their source books are treasure troves though).

D&D the rules isn't so much designed to support D&D the campaign as the other way around. But still. On the other hand, it does everything else spectacularly badly.

WFRP is definitely closely coupled with its rules. The One Ring is a game specifically designed to promote a gaming style appropriate for LOTR. And so on.

If I were to run Star Trek, say; I would definitely want something with as much of its own identity as Call of Cthulhu is separate from D&D.

The secret is that the benefits of "not having to learn a new system" are small, and the drawbacks of how running every game with the same engine makes them all look and feel samey are devastating.



My 2 cents
 

Water Bob

Adventurer
That said, STA is rather cinematic, and due to the high similarity, I'd expect Conan to be similar.



Here's something I worry about, from past experience with game systems that declare story effects.

I'll use a game system that I love, as an example--WEG's Star Wars D6. After the 1st edition of the game came out, a Wild Die was added to every task throw. I think this change came with Second Edition. I played with the Wild Die for years.

The effect of the Wild Die is this: One of the die rolled in a task is considered the "Wild Die". You'll want to use a different color of die than the others to distinguish it from any other dice thrown. When the WD shows a "6", then the die explodes. You get to roll it again to increase your total (higher is better), and you get to keep re-rolling it as long as you roll sixes.

When the WD showed a "1*", the GM could totally ignore it as anything special and just count it as a "1" to the total of the roll. The GM could also declare that the WD 1 and the highest other die in the roll be subtracted from the roll, thereby lowering the total. Or, the GM could declare a "complication".

* This is the 2E R&E version of the WD rule (and the WD 1 is considered only on the first roll for a character during a turn--not on any subsequent actions during that same round). In straight 2E, the rule is a bit different. I cite this one because I ran an awesome 7 year Star Wars campaign using R&E. Today, my favorite version of the WEG D6 rules is straight first edtion--where there is no Wild Die at all.



The complication is a story element. One example given in the book is the scene in Return of the Jedi where Han attempts to stealthily approach the scout troopers on Endor's moon. He steps on a branch. It cracks. The noise alerts the trooper and allows him to backhand Han and jump on the speederbike to escape--starting the speederbike chase.

In 2E R&E terms, Han rolled a Sneak task, but ended up rolling a "1" on his Wild Die. The GM decided on a complication--Han snapping the branch and alterting the trooper.



Note that WEG's D6 system, 2E, does what the 2d20 lovers scream is so innovated about the system. With the Wild Die, the D6 system also has results where a task succeeds but there is a complication (Total of task beats target number, but a 1 on the Wild Die is deemed to be a complication story element). Also, a character can fail a task because of a complication (as probably was Han's roll--he probably didn't roll high enough so that the trooper wouldn't hear him).



This sounds like a neat idea. And, it can be, sometimes. But, I found that the "complication" started more discussions, wasted more time, and ruffled more feathers than what it was worth.

1. The "1" on the Wild Die happens often. Every one out of six task throws on a single player's turn results in a "1" on the WD. This is often enough that we started repeating ourselves--and that wasn't fun. Since Star Wars is a combat oriented game, and I strived for a lot of swashbuckling action, just like the movies, it was often that the WD "1" would occur on a task to shoot a blaster.

We started running out of ideas on what could go wrong with a blaster shot. The game suggested that the weapon ran out of tibanna gas and could no longer fire. Fine. But, how often does this happen? Certainly it doesn't happen as often as the complications that occurred.

2. Then, as GM, I tried to be more story oriented and come up with something more exciting than just a blaster pistol running dry of tibanna gas or having its power cell used up. I decided one time that the "complication" was that the weapon jammed, and the powercell overheated and blew up in the character's hand. Pretty cool, huh? The player didn't think so. He wanted to know why I was picking on him.

The last guy who had a complication slipped on an oil patch that jarred his shot and made it go wild. The player before that had a complication where his stray bolt blew out the lights, and everyone had to fight in the dark. I decided to that it was "cinematic" to blow up the blaster. I mean, at least it wasn't another, "Oh, your blaster gas cannister in your weapon is dry."

But, the player didn't think this was cool at all. He felt he was being picked on. Now, I've got a disgruntled player because of a game mechanic.



I also found that I didn't like to "have" to come up with complications just because the dice said so. Sure, I could add up normally or just reduce the task total, as stated above, but when I did implement a complication, the player would feel singled out and picked on if others didn't get complications.

It was a mess, so I added a die roll--leaving it to luck--for when complications showed up. That stopped the "picked on" feeling somewhat, but I didn't select a complication when I could have gone with one of the other options. But, players still felt slighted and sometimes got argumentative if they perceived a creative complication to not be fair to them.

Finally, I just threw out the possibility of complications all-together. Yeah, on the package is sounded like a neat thing to have in the game. In practice, it didn't work so well.




This situation is one of my fears about the 2d20 system. The dice say COME UP WITH A COOL STORY MOMENT! But, I'm out of ideas at the moment. Or, worse, a player sees that the dice say COME UP WITH A COOL STORY MOMENT! And, the player does--but it's something that I think, as GM, is too much. And, now, we're in a debate, rather than playing the game.
 

Water Bob

Adventurer
In other words: I don't like generic systems. I don't like the concept of a "2d20 system" that is used for several different games, campaigns, genres, and tropes. I never cared for GURPS the system (some of their source books are treasure troves though).

QFT.

Although GURPS has outlived many a game and specific game system, I don't think GURPS (from what I've read) has ever been a best selling game. I think I read that it continues to squeak by on thin margins having fought off several times when the game might have thrown in the towel.

Most generic game systems die, it seems. I love D6 for Star Wars, but generic D6 certainly didn't take off (You can download it now for free). Most house systems seem to fail (I'm think now of GDW's house system used in Traveller The New Era). Classic Traveller started as a generic science fiction game but quickly became a game with its own universe (the Third Imperium). Mongoose has tried to make their new version of Traveller a generic set of rules used for other games with little real success (other than Traveller...and, maybe, 2300). Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes, another generic system, went no where.

I think the most successful "generic" system we've seen (GURPS is the longest running, I think) is WotC's push with the d20 system after 3E D&D came out. But, those results are varying--levels and hit points fit D&D well, but does not fit all of the games the system was married to during the d20 boom.

I agree that games seem to work better when they have their own systems created specifically for the game in question.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Here's something I worry about, from past experience with game systems that declare story effects.

Water Bob, I think the entire planet is explicitly, intimately, repeatedly, exhaustingly familiar with exactly what you don't like about Conan's use of the 2d20 system. :)

This thread, like *all* the others, has turned into the Water Bob vs 2d20 Show. It's reached saturation point, I'm afraid. It's detracting from people being able to talk about anything else regarding the game, and has been for the last dozen threads or so.

If you want, feel free to start your own thread to discuss in detail what you dislike about the system. You can post in that for as long as you want. But please, don't continue to take over *every single thread* with the exact same conversation. It's too much, and it stamps out other conversation.

At some point, somebody on this site needs to have an actual conversation about the new Conan RPG. :)
 
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Water Bob

Adventurer
I asked to talk about other aspects of the game up thread. There are no takers.

And, I think that you are being unreasonable singling me out like that. There are others who feel the way I do. Others who do not like the 2d20 System for various reasons.

I have have not dominated this thread, nor am I not allowing anyone else to speak their peace.

There is an ignore button. People are welcome to ignore what I have to say. Or, they can just not respond. There is little discussion without at least two people going back and forth.

You comment...or "ruling" is very unfair. I should be able to discuss what I like and dislike about any topic posted here on Enworld just like every other member.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I asked to talk about other aspects of the game up thread. There are no takers.

And, I think that you are being unreasonable singling me out like that. There are others who feel the way I do. Others who do not like the 2d20 System for various reasons.

I have have not dominated this thread, nor am I not allowing anyone else to speak their peace.

There is an ignore button. People are welcome to ignore what I have to say. Or, they can just not respond. There is little discussion without at least two people going back and forth.

You comment...or "ruling" is very unfair. I should be able to discuss what I like and dislike about any topic posted here on Enworld just like every other member.

Please do not argue with moderators in-thread, as per the rules you agreed to. Please do not post in this thread again.
 
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pemerton

Legend
On metagame mechanics in general
RPG is a collective story telling session. People keep saying it is, but its a GAME otherwise the name would be Role Playing Story Telling. I think people get way to caught up in you have to tell a story, and make the events fit a story, etc. than realizing that in the process of playing a game, doing hopefully cool stuff, sharing stories, having highlights and lowlights (yes because of randomness that is built into most of the RPGAME systems), that thats where the story comes from!
The function of metagame mechanics like "doom pools", hit points, etc, is to make it more likely that playing the game will produce something that is recognisably a story, rather than a mere sequence of events (eg it has rising action and a climax).

RPGs are a game, not a story telling sitaround. GAME. So if you have to fudge things just to make the results tell the story you want, instead of finding the story that comes out of the good and bad.. um, yeah.
That's the whole point of metagame mechanics - to avoid the need to fudge to achieve something that is recogniably a story.

Eg Gygax liked the idea of combats that had a sort of "back-and-forth" flow of momentum towards victory, of the sort he saw in Errol Flynn fencing movies; and didn't like the idea of combats with lots of blood and one-shot kills and the like; so D&D used hit points - a metagame mechanic (as Gygax explains in his DMG) that produces this sort of story.

(You won't get the same thing out of RQ, or RM - both of which are very simulationist in their combat mechanics - without fudging.)

He also didn't like the idea that the hero chained to the rock face being breathed on by the dragon had no chance of survival - a bad story! So the saving throw rules give the chance - and as Gygax explains in his DMG, these are a metagame mechanic - eg the successful saving throw means that the chains unexpectedly broke, or the fighter found a crevice in the rock to duck into, or something similar.

D&D is simply the last bastion of pure unadulterated simulationism where mechanisms that control story are wholly unwanted.
Huh?

5e still uses hp, which still serve the same metagame function that Gygax described. It drops classic metagame saving throws for 3E-style simulationist ones, but it introduces a new metagame mechanic, namely, Inspiration.

It also still uses non-simulations experience points (tied only to combat, rather than to gold as well), and I think for much the same metagame reason as Gygax gave in his DMG: adventuring is more exciting as a focus of play, and hence as a vehicle for advancement, than is training.

Players in an AD&D game should operate on the knowledge that their characters have--not on the knowledge that the player may get outside of the game.

If a player sees a new monster and decides to have his character run from it, it is considered poor form indeed if the player then changes his mind after having a peek at the GM's notes to see that the HD on the creature is low and easily beaten
But it's poor form not because it's metagaming but because it's cheating.

But AD&D players were absolutely expected to metagame. They were expected to use their own intelligence to guess what sorts of traps a GM might place, or what sorts of monsters s/he might use; they were expected to be familiar with the Monster Manual (Moldvay Basic tells players, not just GMs, to read the monster chapter); all this was part of being a skilled player. And it's the reason why new monsters, and new ideas for traps, were such a constant feature of magazines and modules of that era - this was the way that the GM would out-metagame the players! (Without resorting to cheating.)

No doubt, as [MENTION=6775031]Saelorn[/MENTION] has noted, this all changed in the second half of the 80s and especially the 2nd ed AD&D era. But there were 10 to 15 years of RPGing before then (taking 1974 as a starting date, it's about 10 years if you date it to the Dragonlance modules and about 15 if you date it to 2nd ed AD&D itself).


******************************


On metagame mechanics in Conan RPGing
The DOOM mechanic doesn't make sense. The notion of a character gaining a bonus now but at the price of the rest of the group being penalized later is not a concept that defines Conan's world (or is present in any Howard Conan story).
I think "the rest of the group" is a red herring, given that Conan almost always works solo.

But to the extent that he sometimes has friends - in Tower of the Elephant Conan's "savage instinct" lets him "wheel suddenly" and kill the lion that attacks him; and Taurus later gets poisoned by a giant spider.

In The People of the Black Circle there are multipe similar examples - one I just found involves Conan's Stygian girdle leading the green-robed acolytes to resort to "the whirl of blades", which results in one Irakazai bleeding to death among the rocks.

And looking at solo action - in the Scarlet Citadel Conan has been holding off all comers (mechanicall, perhaps, calling on bonuses and so building up the doom pool), and then is taken down by Tsotha-lanti (perhaps cashing in the doom pool dice eg to make it true, in the fiction, that he has a purple lotus juice ring).

Here's something I worry about, from past experience with game systems that declare story effects.

<snip>

When the WD showed a "1*", the GM could totally ignore it as anything special and just count it as a "1" to the total of the roll. The GM could also declare that the WD 1 and the highest other die in the roll be subtracted from the roll, thereby lowering the total. Or, the GM could declare a "complication".

<snip>

I found that the "complication" started more discussions, wasted more time, and ruffled more feathers than what it was worth.

<snip>

We started running out of ideas on what could go wrong with a blaster shot.

<snip>

Then, as GM, I tried to be more story oriented and come up with something more exciting than just a blaster pistol running dry of tibanna gas or having its power cell used up. I decided one time that the "complication" was that the weapon jammed, and the powercell overheated and blew up in the character's hand. Pretty cool, huh? The player didn't think so. He wanted to know why I was picking on him.

<snip>

Finally, I just threw out the possibility of complications all-together. Yeah, on the package is sounded like a neat thing to have in the game. In practice, it didn't work so well.
This sounds like a less-than-optimally designed metagame mechanic, because it doesn't seem to give the GM very good guidance on when to invoke it, and what the result should be.

But it also sounds like an issue of GMing skill and experience.

There is a lot of discussion and advice among RPGers on how to run these sorts of mechanics - mostly under the label "fail forward", although the utility of that discussion and advice can go well beyond "fail forward" in the strict sense.

As far as a Conan-esque game is concerned, complications would include things like the purple lotus juice; having the Argus be sacked by Belit's pirates; having an unexpected rescuer actually want to kill you (I'm thinking of the Scarlet Citadel); etc. One way that all of these differ from what you describe in your Star Wars game is that they are not complications that just mechanically worsen the situation of the player (eg by running out of ammo, or having a gun blow up, or even by shooting out the lights). Rather, they change the situation and its stakes - Conan is captured; Conan is no longer just travelling to Cush fleeing the justice of the city, but is caught up in an intense and dangerous romance with Belit; etc.

If you enjoy (universal "You") the 2d20 system, then, hey, knock yourself out.

I'll still be disappointed in Modiphius that they went with this game system, but I also recognize that some enjoy the hell out of it and are having fun with it.
I think you mean you're disappointed that they went with it. I assume you're not disappointed in them - they didn't do anything wrong, that displays moral failing or bad character.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
On metagame mechanics in general
The function of metagame mechanics like "doom pools", hit points, etc, is to make it more likely that playing the game will produce something that is recognisably a story, rather than a mere sequence of events (eg it has rising action and a climax).
Sorry but now you're just explaining the basic appeal of metagame, like that was unclear or unknown to its detractors.

They already know this. Why? Because what you consider a positive is the negative for these gamers!

Their entire point is that any climax that doesn't come naturally doesn't feel "real" or "earned". Any climax that results from metagame mechanics tweaking the chain of events feels "unnatural" or "scripted" - leading them to feel like playing the game with safety mode switched on. They are more than willing to suffer through wonky or evaporating climaxes where they story expected them in order to experience completely serendipitous climaxes when you least expect it. So, essentially all you're doing, I'm afraid, is revealing your own ignorance of the other side of the argument.

Now, can I ask you to not respond to the above. I am aware you might feel inclined to discuss the positive or negative nature of "storyfied" events, but this is not the place for that. I certainly am not saying they are right and you are wrong - I am merely saying there's two sides to this coin and both are equally valid opinions of taste to have. Why not instead accept that for some people the "mere" sequence of events is exactly why they play rpgs, and get back to talking about how awesomesauce Conan is...? :)
 

pemerton

Legend
Sorry but now you're just explaining the basic appeal of metagame, like that was unclear or unknown to its detractors.
I was replying to a poster who said that "the story" is what results from playing the game, as if this was a point of contrast to metagame mechanics. It's not. Metagame mechanics aren't an alternative to having story result from the play of the game. They're a device for facilitating a story resulting from the play of the game.

That tells us nothing about whether metagame mechanics are desirable. It clarifies their function.

Their entire point is that any climax that doesn't come naturally doesn't feel "real" or "earned". Any climax that results from metagame mechanics tweaking the chain of events feels "unnatural" or "scripted" - leading them to feel like playing the game with safety mode switched on.
This is why, in the late 70s through the 80s, many RPGers abandoned D&D and AD&D for hard-sim games like RQ, RM, etc; in which instead of the "safety mode" of hit points, any sword blow has the potential to be fatal - even if swung by a lowly orc against a might captain.

Personally, I don't think that sort of system is a very good fit for a Conan game - Conan clearly enjoys the "luck" or "divine favour" that hit points (per Gygax in his DMG) are an expression of.

Conan's enemies, on the other hand, clearly lack this luck - they routinely die in a single blow that staves in heads, clefts skulls et al. The Quickstart rules don't seem to capture this: based on a quick skim of the rules, the picts and panthers in the adventure (especially the panthers) seem likely to endure multiple hits. Does expending momentum for damage make up for this?
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
I was replying to a poster who said that "the story" is what results from playing the game, as if this was a point of contrast to metagame mechanics. It's not. Metagame mechanics aren't an alternative to having story result from the play of the game. They're a device for facilitating a story resulting from the play of the game.

That tells us nothing about whether metagame mechanics are desirable. It clarifies their function.
That poster might have been unclear (I don't know).

The point is that you don't need to clarify their function. The function is clear. It is precisely that function that makes metagame mechanics undesirable to some people.

I hope we can drop this subject now.
 

N01H3r3

Explorer
Personally, I don't think that sort of system is a very good fit for a Conan game - Conan clearly enjoys the "luck" or "divine favour" that hit points (per Gygax in his DMG) are an expression of.

Conan's enemies, on the other hand, clearly lack this luck - they routinely die in a single blow that staves in heads, clefts skulls et al. The Quickstart rules don't seem to capture this: based on a quick skim of the rules, the picts and panthers in the adventure (especially the panthers) seem likely to endure multiple hits. Does expending momentum for damage make up for this?
So, there's almost two arguments here, because the damage rules and the rules for Doom aren't really the same thing (though there are points where they interact).

Damage in Conan is split into physical and mental damage, which work in parallel ways (damage is resolved in identical ways for either of them, but with different end outcomes), but we'll focus on physical damage here.

A creature has a finite amount of Vigor, which is the stamina and survival instincts side of the old "what are hit points" argument. A character who loses Vigor isn't impeded in any way by the loss of those points, but running out of Vigor or losing a lot in one go will cause a Wound. PCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn plus their Resistance Expertise (6 at the lower end, 17 at the upper end). Most NPCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn, or half their Brawn if they're classified as "minions" (though minions can group up for strength in numbers and ease of play), while Nemesis NPCs work out their Vigor as PCs do.

Whenever you deal damage (and you can spend Momentum from a successful attack to reroll or increase your damage), you reduce damage dealt by the target's Soak (armour and cover for physical damage), and anything remaining reduces their Vigor. If they suffer 5+ damage (after Soak) from a single attack, they suffer a Wound. If they're reduced to 0 Vigor or suffer any damage when already at 0 Vigor, then they suffer a Wound. Both those conditions stack, so you can potentially deal 2 Wounds in one go if you deal a lot of damage. A Wound imposes a cumulative +1 difficulty penalty on all physical activities until it's treated or healed, and different creatures can withstand a certain number of Wounds before they're killed outright. For PCs and Nemesis NPCs, this is 5 (penalties for the first 3, incapacitated on the fourth, dead on the fifth), while Elite NPCs are slain after the second Wound, and Minions are out of the fight after a single Wound.

Vigor recovers fully after a fight, and can be recovered fairly easy during a fight - stop and take a breather, grit your teeth and keep fighting. Wounds can't be healed during a fight, and take time to fully heal. A Wound can be treated to remove the penalty it imposes (medical attention, bandages, splints, poultices, etc)... but if you suffer another Wound, then any that were treated come back as well (you've torn your stitches and opened up previous Wounds). Wounds only go away for good during downtime, given proper time and attention.

So, with the quickstart, the PCs are fairly tough and can take multiple solid hits to bring them down, while quick-to-recover Vigor gives them a little "buffer" against damage that lets them leap into the fray and be heroic, but being injured is problematic and dangerous in the long term. The Picts will mostly go down in one or two solid hits (most are Minion NPCs, a few are Elites, the Shaman is a Nemesis, so as tough as the PCs). The Panther is bolstered by sorcery, and thus unnaturally resilient.

This is because there's a fine line between "deadly combat that's perilous for everyone" and "combat where player characters aren't immediately threatened by death when they draw their swords". Being Wounded is a consequence that characters want to avoid (because the penalty is significant), so combat is perilous, but the player characters can't instantly and arbitrarily die because of a single bad dice roll. Most NPCs will fall to one or two good strikes, which, along with the consequences of injury, helps retain the brutality and bloodshed of the setting.

Doom... that's a different matter. But, as Doom comes from play - it's generated by the PCs and NPCs based on the things they do in the game - it applies a greater degree of causality to the action than GM Fiat does (where causality is essentially an illusion based on how the GM frames it), where choices have subsequent repercussions. If you draw a lot of attention to yourself, and go in reckless, brash and messy (ie, do things that generate a lot of Doom), then don't be surprised if the enemy fights harder, lays traps for you, calls for reinforcements, and otherwise makes you pay for your recklessness.

In terms of the basic option to buy bonus d20s with Momentum or Doom: spending Momentum is capitalising on your group's collective successes as you progress, taking advantage of opportunities that open up because you did well before (you have a finite amount of Momentum, but it's easy to generate more later), while spending Doom is taking chances, making your own opportunities, and acting rashly without regard for later consequences (it's infinite in supply, but you pay the price for it later). A mixture of both - adding to Doom to get a big success that generates a lot of Momentum - is often the most effective strategy: the characters are equal parts bold and cunning, and willing to pay the price for their audacity if it lets them triumph in the end.

And, well, if you've ever seen a story where characters are wary of an ambush for no reason other than their instincts, or someone says that a fight was "too easy", or has "a bad feeling about this", or otherwise responds to the overarching tension of a situation... then they're reacting to exactly what the Doom pool represents in this game.

And, well, I've been through this discussion plenty of times before. I've said my part on the subject, and will step back from the metagame/Doom discussion.
 

Igwilly

First Post
So, there's almost two arguments here, because the damage rules and the rules for Doom aren't really the same thing (though there are points where they interact).

Damage in Conan is split into physical and mental damage, which work in parallel ways (damage is resolved in identical ways for either of them, but with different end outcomes), but we'll focus on physical damage here.

A creature has a finite amount of Vigor, which is the stamina and survival instincts side of the old "what are hit points" argument. A character who loses Vigor isn't impeded in any way by the loss of those points, but running out of Vigor or losing a lot in one go will cause a Wound. PCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn plus their Resistance Expertise (6 at the lower end, 17 at the upper end). Most NPCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn, or half their Brawn if they're classified as "minions" (though minions can group up for strength in numbers and ease of play), while Nemesis NPCs work out their Vigor as PCs do.

Whenever you deal damage (and you can spend Momentum from a successful attack to reroll or increase your damage), you reduce damage dealt by the target's Soak (armour and cover for physical damage), and anything remaining reduces their Vigor. If they suffer 5+ damage (after Soak) from a single attack, they suffer a Wound. If they're reduced to 0 Vigor or suffer any damage when already at 0 Vigor, then they suffer a Wound. Both those conditions stack, so you can potentially deal 2 Wounds in one go if you deal a lot of damage. A Wound imposes a cumulative +1 difficulty penalty on all physical activities until it's treated or healed, and different creatures can withstand a certain number of Wounds before they're killed outright. For PCs and Nemesis NPCs, this is 5 (penalties for the first 3, incapacitated on the fourth, dead on the fifth), while Elite NPCs are slain after the second Wound, and Minions are out of the fight after a single Wound.

Vigor recovers fully after a fight, and can be recovered fairly easy during a fight - stop and take a breather, grit your teeth and keep fighting. Wounds can't be healed during a fight, and take time to fully heal. A Wound can be treated to remove the penalty it imposes (medical attention, bandages, splints, poultices, etc)... but if you suffer another Wound, then any that were treated come back as well (you've torn your stitches and opened up previous Wounds). Wounds only go away for good during downtime, given proper time and attention.

So, with the quickstart, the PCs are fairly tough and can take multiple solid hits to bring them down, while quick-to-recover Vigor gives them a little "buffer" against damage that lets them leap into the fray and be heroic, but being injured is problematic and dangerous in the long term. The Picts will mostly go down in one or two solid hits (most are Minion NPCs, a few are Elites, the Shaman is a Nemesis, so as tough as the PCs). The Panther is bolstered by sorcery, and thus unnaturally resilient.

This is because there's a fine line between "deadly combat that's perilous for everyone" and "combat where player characters aren't immediately threatened by death when they draw their swords". Being Wounded is a consequence that characters want to avoid (because the penalty is significant), so combat is perilous, but the player characters can't instantly and arbitrarily die because of a single bad dice roll. Most NPCs will fall to one or two good strikes, which, along with the consequences of injury, helps retain the brutality and bloodshed of the setting.

Doom... that's a different matter. But, as Doom comes from play - it's generated by the PCs and NPCs based on the things they do in the game - it applies a greater degree of causality to the action than GM Fiat does (where causality is essentially an illusion based on how the GM frames it), where choices have subsequent repercussions. If you draw a lot of attention to yourself, and go in reckless, brash and messy (ie, do things that generate a lot of Doom), then don't be surprised if the enemy fights harder, lays traps for you, calls for reinforcements, and otherwise makes you pay for your recklessness.

In terms of the basic option to buy bonus d20s with Momentum or Doom: spending Momentum is capitalising on your group's collective successes as you progress, taking advantage of opportunities that open up because you did well before (you have a finite amount of Momentum, but it's easy to generate more later), while spending Doom is taking chances, making your own opportunities, and acting rashly without regard for later consequences (it's infinite in supply, but you pay the price for it later). A mixture of both - adding to Doom to get a big success that generates a lot of Momentum - is often the most effective strategy: the characters are equal parts bold and cunning, and willing to pay the price for their audacity if it lets them triumph in the end.

And, well, if you've ever seen a story where characters are wary of an ambush for no reason other than their instincts, or someone says that a fight was "too easy", or has "a bad feeling about this", or otherwise responds to the overarching tension of a situation... then they're reacting to exactly what the Doom pool represents in this game.

And, well, I've been through this discussion plenty of times before. I've said my part on the subject, and will step back from the metagame/Doom discussion.
That actually gave me some interesting information about the game. Thanks!

On the other side, the whole vigor + wounds seems a little more complicated than just HP, but more realist and granular. Not sure if that's good or bad.
 

unknowable

Explorer
Water Bob, I think the entire planet is explicitly, intimately, repeatedly, exhaustingly familiar with exactly what you don't like about Conan's use of the 2d20 system. :)

This thread, like *all* the others, has turned into the Water Bob vs 2d20 Show. It's reached saturation point, I'm afraid. It's detracting from people being able to talk about anything else regarding the game, and has been for the last dozen threads or so.

If you want, feel free to start your own thread to discuss in detail what you dislike about the system. You can post in that for as long as you want. But please, don't continue to take over *every single thread* with the exact same conversation. It's too much, and it stamps out other conversation.

At some point, somebody on this site needs to have an actual conversation about the new Conan RPG. :)
Thanks, it really is every thread. I don't comment often and only created an account recently despite having viewed the site for years... but damn... boy is it tiring to read through.

So, there's almost two arguments here, because the damage rules and the rules for Doom aren't really the same thing (though there are points where they interact).

Damage in Conan is split into physical and mental damage, which work in parallel ways (damage is resolved in identical ways for either of them, but with different end outcomes), but we'll focus on physical damage here.

A creature has a finite amount of Vigor, which is the stamina and survival instincts side of the old "what are hit points" argument. A character who loses Vigor isn't impeded in any way by the loss of those points, but running out of Vigor or losing a lot in one go will cause a Wound. PCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn plus their Resistance Expertise (6 at the lower end, 17 at the upper end). Most NPCs have Vigor equal to their Brawn, or half their Brawn if they're classified as "minions" (though minions can group up for strength in numbers and ease of play), while Nemesis NPCs work out their Vigor as PCs do.

Whenever you deal damage (and you can spend Momentum from a successful attack to reroll or increase your damage), you reduce damage dealt by the target's Soak (armour and cover for physical damage), and anything remaining reduces their Vigor. If they suffer 5+ damage (after Soak) from a single attack, they suffer a Wound. If they're reduced to 0 Vigor or suffer any damage when already at 0 Vigor, then they suffer a Wound. Both those conditions stack, so you can potentially deal 2 Wounds in one go if you deal a lot of damage. A Wound imposes a cumulative +1 difficulty penalty on all physical activities until it's treated or healed, and different creatures can withstand a certain number of Wounds before they're killed outright. For PCs and Nemesis NPCs, this is 5 (penalties for the first 3, incapacitated on the fourth, dead on the fifth), while Elite NPCs are slain after the second Wound, and Minions are out of the fight after a single Wound.

Vigor recovers fully after a fight, and can be recovered fairly easy during a fight - stop and take a breather, grit your teeth and keep fighting. Wounds can't be healed during a fight, and take time to fully heal. A Wound can be treated to remove the penalty it imposes (medical attention, bandages, splints, poultices, etc)... but if you suffer another Wound, then any that were treated come back as well (you've torn your stitches and opened up previous Wounds). Wounds only go away for good during downtime, given proper time and attention.

So, with the quickstart, the PCs are fairly tough and can take multiple solid hits to bring them down, while quick-to-recover Vigor gives them a little "buffer" against damage that lets them leap into the fray and be heroic, but being injured is problematic and dangerous in the long term. The Picts will mostly go down in one or two solid hits (most are Minion NPCs, a few are Elites, the Shaman is a Nemesis, so as tough as the PCs). The Panther is bolstered by sorcery, and thus unnaturally resilient.

This is because there's a fine line between "deadly combat that's perilous for everyone" and "combat where player characters aren't immediately threatened by death when they draw their swords". Being Wounded is a consequence that characters want to avoid (because the penalty is significant), so combat is perilous, but the player characters can't instantly and arbitrarily die because of a single bad dice roll. Most NPCs will fall to one or two good strikes, which, along with the consequences of injury, helps retain the brutality and bloodshed of the setting.

Doom... that's a different matter. But, as Doom comes from play - it's generated by the PCs and NPCs based on the things they do in the game - it applies a greater degree of causality to the action than GM Fiat does (where causality is essentially an illusion based on how the GM frames it), where choices have subsequent repercussions. If you draw a lot of attention to yourself, and go in reckless, brash and messy (ie, do things that generate a lot of Doom), then don't be surprised if the enemy fights harder, lays traps for you, calls for reinforcements, and otherwise makes you pay for your recklessness.

In terms of the basic option to buy bonus d20s with Momentum or Doom: spending Momentum is capitalising on your group's collective successes as you progress, taking advantage of opportunities that open up because you did well before (you have a finite amount of Momentum, but it's easy to generate more later), while spending Doom is taking chances, making your own opportunities, and acting rashly without regard for later consequences (it's infinite in supply, but you pay the price for it later). A mixture of both - adding to Doom to get a big success that generates a lot of Momentum - is often the most effective strategy: the characters are equal parts bold and cunning, and willing to pay the price for their audacity if it lets them triumph in the end.

And, well, if you've ever seen a story where characters are wary of an ambush for no reason other than their instincts, or someone says that a fight was "too easy", or has "a bad feeling about this", or otherwise responds to the overarching tension of a situation... then they're reacting to exactly what the Doom pool represents in this game.

And, well, I've been through this discussion plenty of times before. I've said my part on the subject, and will step back from the metagame/Doom discussion.
Great post. A lot of the argument is really rooted in perspective and preference really, i like that you are dealing with the mechanical realities of the system. Far more useful for those who would be interested.

On a plus note, everybody i have convinced to play has enjoyed it so far. Many of those were grognards who wrote the system off. But then again they were willing to try as i was also able to convince most that 5e wasn't a terrible system and that they just needed to avoid thinking of it as if it was 3.5 -laughs-
 

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